By: Assel Seidualiyeva
In history, the word "woman" is mostly associated with terms such as; wife, spouse and mother.
Over the last few decades, women across the world have gained a far more equal status than in history. What is the situation for women in unrecognized countries?
From antiquity to our time, social and legal knowledge has come a long way in understanding the gender roles in society. The concept of the legal status of women has changed regarding socio-economic, moral, ethical, religious and scientific views.
In the context of modern scientific analysis of the legal status of women, one of the most significant is its aspects causing acute debate, is the phenomenon of gender asymmetry.
If initially the gender asymmetry was of a stating nature and was considered as a natural, insurmountable consequence of the biological gender difference, then with the emancipation of legal consciousness in general and of the female one, in particular, it began to be understood as a socially determined phenomenon that can and must be overcome.
In the era of the New Age, in connection with the transformation of the type of social stratification of society and the approval of the social and legal status of a citizen, significant changes took place in the social and legal status of gender.
From this moment, the active formation of theories and models begins, the purpose of which is to change the legal status of women in society. A main pillar of emancipation movements in history is the struggle for women's legal and political equality.
The social status of a woman and their role in society, has its own historical features in various cultures. A common occurrence is the superiority of men's rights over women, which is especially pronounced in some areas of the world.
An example of a society with the superiority of women is the mythical people of the Amazon, which consisted exclusively of women who did not tolerate husbands with them. Often, inequality of rights came from religious norms and was characteristic of most religions.
In many respects, the formation of these norms is due to the fact that for most women, in connection with the birth and upbringing of children, the main life goals were exclusively within the family. In most cultural traditions, particular importance was attached to preparing the girl for marriage.
At the same time, the preparation of young men for marriage was usually given less importance.
In the eighteenth century, the demand for freedom of feeling was intertwined with appeals for a return to nature and transferred to the doctrine of unlimited sexual freedom (in “Recherches philosophiques sur le droit de la propriété et le vol” by Brisso de Varville), and the belief in the all-transforming power of reason aroused hopes for radical transformation of the status of women.
During the French Revolution, practical attempts were made to achieve women's equal rights, the defenders of which were Condorcet and Siès; but the convention in 1792 strongly opposed it.
The changes that have occurred in relation to women in the 20th century in the West are most clearly characterized by processes such as the sexual revolution and the intensification of feminism (the historically established common name for various political and social movements whose activities are aimed at combating male sexism and promoting women's rights).
Today, it is common across the world for women to advocate for their rights and interests, trying to achieve equality with men, and with feminist movements across the world becoming 'mainstream.'
But all this seems to happen in the most socially developed countries of the world. So what do we know about the status of women from entire countries that remain unrecognized?
Women in Unrecognized Countries
Indeed, some regions have tried for many years to achieve independence, to ensure that their voices are heard. Thus, the last decade of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century is marked by the emergence of quite a few unrecognized countries.
The problem of unrecognized countries is a challenge both for the unrecognized countries themselves, and for the greater international community.
To date, almost all of these states have men the necessary conditions to be considered independent states, yet have remained in an 'unrecognized state.'
Moreover, the presence in modern international relations of a significant number of self-proclaimed states, claiming their recognition, has lead to the reluctance of the international community to allow for new states to emerge.
In addition to the state itself, non-state actors, organiztions and social movement within those states have also largely remained unrecognized. This article will examine the situation of women in some of the world's unrecognized countries.
Women in Abkhazia
An Abkhazian proverb says: "There is no man who is not born of a woman." In traditional Abkhaz society, the honor and glory of a woman was carefully guarded. The honor of mother, sister, daughter was highly esteemed.
The wife, the husband’s assistant in all matters, the keeper of the hearth - this was the position of the mistress of the house in a traditional Abkhaz family.
She captivates everyone with her beauty, manners and graceful dexterity, knows how to sheathe her husband and children, cook a variety of dishes, she is hospitable, but at the same time modest and feminine, and, if necessary, courageous, brave and intrepid.
Among the people, a woman enjoys great respect. With all this respect for the female representatives, the woman did not work until the thirties of the twentieth century, and did not have equal rights as men.
The situation began to change after collectivization in the Soviet Union, during which the region needed additional labor.
Yes, after the reforms, gender equality was beginning to be established in the region: women began to receive higher (secondary) education, began to excel in the textile, industrial, culinary spheres.
But despite all the successes of women, “the invasion of women in the world of men” did not bring in Abkhazia the victories that we are seeing in Western society.
Given the small number of women advancing in the men's world in Abkhazia, it can be said that emancipation has not yet led to the abandonment of traditional forms of relations between both genders.
If women are at the forefront of the economy, then ideology still serves the power of men.
Women in Kurdistan
The image of a Kurdish woman is a symbol of courage and independence for the whole world. For centuries, women of Kurdistan have opposed the rulers and the patriarchal traditions of the East oppressing their people.
They always defended their place in society, not allowing them to fetter the strength of their spirit and the will to gain freedom.
Kurdish society is quite patriarchal and traditional, to a greater extent than is customary in the West, but to a lesser extent than in other Middle Eastern countries.
Nevertheless, Kurdish women, on par with men, receive education and find work by profession without any problems. Moreover, a fairly large part of the army, about 40%, consists of women.
The creation of the main women's political and social movements took place at the end of the twentieth century, when the leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, Abdullah Ocalan, said, “No revolution can take place while women are slaves.”
He initiated the creation of the Association of Women of Kurdistan, which includes the Star Free Women's Union, the Women's Freedom Party, the Kurdistan Free Women's Party and the Kurdistan Women's Liberation Union.
Currently, about 30% of the Kurdish Regional Government's workforce is made up of women, which is unique in the region.
Thanks to such a powerful upholding of rights, Kurdish women today do not hide their faces, are not afraid to go against the will of a man and do not experience oppression in society.
They are independent and self-sufficient, even more so than in the West. Only with Kurds does a woman achieve equality not for her own protection from internal patriarchal norms, but for protection against external oppressors, for the well-being of her family and free heaven for her children, giving all herself to the Kurdish people and the idea of gaining an Independent Kurdistan.
Women in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh)
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement process was characterized by the traditional division of gender roles, where all decisions were made by men, where men played the main role in all delegations.
Women's organizations were active at the local level, establishing dialogue and organizing meetings between Armenian and Azerbaijani women.
Today, women's organizations are striving to ensure that women are included in the decision-making process that relates to determining the conditions of the state, including peace negotiations in the region.
The number of active women, however, still totals hundreds of people, and has not yet reached the necessary critical mass.
Although huge strides have been made for the women of Artsakh, the political sphere is generally dominated by small power elites, which further complicates the way women enter politics.
Instead of engaging in politics and standing for election, many women are trying to realize their potential in the field of public organizations.
The question remains however, how can women truly gain their independence and reach their true potential in unrecognized countries, if the country they live in is not recognized itself?